Typical Melissa: "Melissa opened the pantry: chips, Twinkies, cheese crackers. "Translation: fat, fat, fat," she murmured. She couldn't bring herself to eat any of it. She turned and opened the fridge: leftover bacon, grease,a slice of cheesecake, calories, lots of calories."
High school isn't easy even at its plainest. But when one adds tons of homework, a cute boyfriend, and rigorous dance classes she just might go crazy. Or go thin. Melissa feels all the pressure on her and seeks to control the one thing she can: food. But when problems go sky-high and she constantly feels hollow, will her strategy work? Doesn't God want her to be thin?
Skinny explores a topic that's pretty close to my heart - anorexia. The disorder has captivated my interest for years. Starving yourself to fit in is so easy... and so wrong. It's a problem many teenage girls get into because of all the pressure and expectations others - and they themselves - have for them. The media version of beautiful doesn't help in the least. Skinny delves into the thoughts and feelings leading to an eating disorder. Laura also shows us what God has to say about food, and that is so powerful. God is, in fact, a great Curer, and He heals to this day.
I think the story could have been even better if written in first person, not third. Also, Melissa's boyfriend was underdeveloped and could have been improved by having other dimensions besides being cute. A scene/scenes from either church or youth group would have added to the spiritual side of the novel.
Overall, Laura L. Smith has written a story that dips into a real and large problem teens face. She reminds us that God is the solution to it.
Have you ever been far-far away from a friend and then you were close again? Wasn't it SO awkward the first few times you met again? You groped for words and thought rapidly about the topics that could be easy to discuss. And then maybe after those few hard times it settled to normal and you were friends again. Or maybe it didn't work out.
Isn't it amazing that God is always with us and that we can talk with Him anytime? He has called us His friends! "14 You are my friends if you do what I command.15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." -John 15:14-15 (NIV) Amen!
"Nothing is Impossible" is a song sung by Planetshakers. Here are the lyrics.
"I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
It is true! God can give us strength. And through Him we can do anything!
Change is a very very very scary thing. For me, at least. It is scary to leave what is known and perhaps comfortable to go and meet the future, the changes.
Of course changes will come. Every day is a bit different than the rest. And sometimes big changes will dash our “normal” lives to the ground and take their place. Sometimes these changes will seem good to us. Sometimes they won’t be what we want.
The good news is that, no matter what changes, we believe in an unchanging God.
"“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed."" Malachi 3:6 (NIV)
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)
As Corrie ten Boom said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
How about you? What is a change that has happened in your life? How did God help you through the transition?
"“You… there you are, you little thief! Police! Police! Catch that boy.” Pogo flapped his wings and darted into the air as Kip dropped his bag of papers at the feet of the two girls and ran."
Kip O’Reilly was sold by his father to a shoe tanner when he was eight. He ran away and, now thirteen, is a street rover, managing for his younger buddies and himself. When the boy is caught stealing, Rev. Brace is the only one who can help him out. The two only conditions – staying at the Aid Society and not stealing. This kind of life is so different from the one Kip lead. Can he manage?
Genre: historical, adventure. For those 11-14 years old. Issues dealt with: Family relationships, the life of the street rovers in the 19th century.
Roundup of the Street Roversis part of the Trailblazer series. This book doesn’t really have God at the center of everything, but it does show how a life can change through contact with Christians. It introduces the historical figure Reverend Brace, making history interesting.
" “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"" Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
"1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night." Psalm 1:1-2 (NIV)
“Meditate” is not a very popular word in our fast-paced society. We strive to do things quickly, to get them done just in order to have them over with, to check things of our to-do lists as often as we can.
“Meditate” sounds slow and something people did a century or two ago. Not for us fast-paced folk.
Bad news. Or good news, probably. Meditating on God’s Word is a good thing. This is not coming from a person who has it all figured out and who is patient and loves to ponder the Bible. No, I am very often impatient about meditating. I don’t usually take the time – or don’t take much – to just think about how awesome God is, about how awesome His Word is.
But it is a good thing.
How about you? Do you like to reflect on God and His law? When was a time when you slowed down and did it?
Like I have mentioned before, fellowship with other Christians can be refreshing and fulfilling. When we feel free to be who God made us to be, when we open up and are not put down, when we encourage and are encouraged… that is a blessing.
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
How about you? Do you have a community that is open and encouraging? What can you do today so others feel encouraged and loved?
“You ask his forgiveness for your sins, and you trust him to take charge of your life because He loves you and He knows everything. And then you’re friends, too.” ~ Erin, Heart to Heart
“It’s funny how people say they don’t believe in God but blame Him when something bad happens. He never gets credit for all the good days, just blamed for the few bad ones." ~Beth, The New Recruit
"Well, it's up to us to make the choice. We can reject a free ride on the boat to Hawaii, or we can sit here and say, 'Yes, I believe in that boat, and I believe in Hawaii.' But unless we actually get on the boat, we're never going to make it to Hawaii." ~Todd, Summer Promise
“Ah, but of course if we really knew how much work it’d be to change ourselves, we’d be too overwhelmed to get started.” ~ Amy, Out with the In Crowd
"“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."" Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7(NIV)
I can find rest in the one way it really really matters - in Christ.
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
Sometimes we go about our day not thinking much about God. We worry about meeting deadlines, fixing lunch, getting all that’s needed done, and –every once in a while – relaxing. But how often do we stop and think “God, this is so hard” or “Wow, You’re awesome, Lord” or “Thanks so much. I needed that.” Our God is always with us.
Caleb Holt is sick and tired of his family life. Absolutely nothing is going right. Then his father dares him to give it another try. Forty days. This should be pretty easy, right? No. How can he be expected to love someone who never loves him back?